Why Are Penny Auctions Advertising by Way of Fake News Sites?

We’ve mentioned it before and we unfortunately have to mention it again, it’s of our opinion that advertising by way of “consumer news report” advertorials is misleading consumers.

These fake news site have been used to advertise “work at home” schemes, Make money with Google, Acai, colon cleanse products, reservatrol and others, now they’re being used to advertise penny auctions and we don’t like it.

Last year, Wired’s Kevin Poulsen reported on these fake news sites, he said “There’s something icky about the fake news ads showing up on genuine news sites like Salon, Slate and Huffington Post. Are things really so bad that we’ll let scammers use the tropes of journalism to lure consumers into shady deals?”

There are a few penny auction sites that told us they are not marketing this way, they say it’s their affiliate marketers that are making the ads, but if they haven’t, they need to tell their affiliate marketers to stop.

We’ve found a few of these fake news sites being advertised on Weather.com. The sites have names like The Memphis Gazette, Consumer News, Action News, Consumer Tips Digest, Penny Auctions Exposed,  Consumer Advocate Weekly and others.

We think that some consumers are impressionable and don’t always know that these fake news sites are really fake news sites. Is this an honest way to market?

Many use images of French journalist and news anchor, Melissa Theuriau. Voted by many to be the most beautiful news anchor, it’s very unfortunate to see that so many marketers are using her image to make a profit.  Many have used Melissa’s image to make it look like she’s the investigative reporter “investigating” or providing a positive “money saving” review about particular penny auction sites.

As policy on Penny Auction Watch we will not allow sites that are advertising by way of advertorial to advertise either on our blog or forum. If you find a site that is advertising by way of advertorial please let us know about it.

Also of concern, there are a few sites that are using icon logos of major news networks on their site next to the words “As Seen On” when in actuality there site has not been “seen on” these sites, some have only purchased paid press releases for Reuters, Yahoo, etc., they’ve not actually been interviewed or featured by these media outlets.

What do you think about penny auction sites marketing with these fake news sites? Let us know!

Discuss penny auctions in our free forum!

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13 comments… add one
  • Gene September 30, 2010, 6:06 am

    The "news style" advertorial is an old technique from the print days. It's only just made it onto the internet for some reason. People use it because it WORKS people.

    Would you rather:

    Spend $1,000 on ads and get 10 customers


    Spend $1,000 on ads and get 20 customers

    Pretty simple. I have no affiliation with any penny auction sites I've been in direct response marketing for over 30 years so I'm just telling you why.

    p.s. using that french anchors image is completely wrong, Im not endorsing that at all

  • Chris October 9, 2010, 12:20 pm


    I have taken the time to read most of not all of the posts on this website.

    After study and review, I can say that agree with some, yet I have to disagree on quite a few posts, especially the posts condoning and accusing a company that sells software, to the extent of having a website it elaborated, which was functioning and was quite popular, be forced to sell due to lack of customers, and due to damage caused by PAW.

    Th administrator of this site has no idea the consequences she can cause by her unfounded pseudo allegations, and her actions pertaining to this particular case was childish, rude and pointless.

    It is by far evident that all if not most of the penny auction websites online today are operating with purchased software, and not in-house material, and as such they come equipped with a tool to control auctions (momentarily) to avoid financial loss.

    Swoopo who is proprietor of their own software uses a similar tool. This has been confirmed many a time by staff who used to be employed by Swoopo.

    Being that I have taken the time to instruct myself on PAW, I have a question to Mrs. Amanda lee, Administrator and I suppose owner of PAW:

    How can a person who touts themselves as a "watchdog" for Penny Auction sites, demanding complete utter transparency from penny auction site owners, cannot not offer complete transparency herself?

    It is not logical and most confusing.

    I do hope that this post will be added for complete transparency sake, and that I will receive a reply to my concerns,


    • Amanda October 10, 2010, 6:18 am

      Christian, Are you referring to DigitalFruit's use of bots again? If so, I think we already discussed this.

  • John October 20, 2010, 12:59 pm

    A “news style” advertorial is one page in a publication which is clearly marked as such and still has to have an element of truth in it – these fake news sites are nothing of the sort. The whole website is fake and pretending to be a news site but all the links just go to the penny auction site, there is no other content. Everything on the website – from the testimonials, to the "story", to the "reporter" is fake. Fake testimonials and all the other false and misleading information is a clear breach of FTC regulations.



  • Alex September 29, 2011, 3:27 pm

    You write “As policy on Penny Auction Watch we will not allow sites that are advertising by way of advertorial to advertise either on our blog or forum.” Taken at face value, that sentence suggests sites using advertorials will not be permitted to advertise on your site, no matter what format their advertisement. Hence I find it both amusing and alarming that QuiBids was advertising on the same page as that quote above (see screenshot below)


    • Amanda Lee September 29, 2011, 3:51 pm

      Quibids is not an advertiser directly but shows up via Google Ads, I can’t really control who shows up on Google – also I’ve now learned that the advertorials are created by affiliates. Thanks

  • chad lauderback October 25, 2011, 1:51 am



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